With New Yorkers moving away in droves and tourists staying put during the coronavirus pandemic, the decision to open a brand new store in an emptying city seems counterintuitive. Real estate experts and developers are predicting New York might take a decade or more to recover, and even then, may never be the same again.
But at least one brand is betting the city will eventually return to the old normal. Krispy Kreme is opening its first flagship store in Times Square on Sept. 15.
“With so many places running away from New York, especially retailers, we want to be part of the re-emergence of New York City,” says Krispy Kreme Chief Marketing Officer David Skena. “We’re betting on New York. We’re betting on New Yorkers. They’re some of the most resilient people, and we cannot wait to serve them. I know we don’t have tourists today, but they’ll be back. New York will be back, and we’ll be back with them.”
Skena, who was appointed CMO about two years ago, says the plan to build Krispy Kreme’s flagship and a number of other stores within New York City, were laid out years before the pandemic caught the brand by surprise. The flagship store was initially meant to open in May, but was postponed to September when the brand could ascertain it could open safely and in compliance with federal and state guidance, he says.
The building sits at 1601 Broadway in a section of real estate rapidly becoming the sweet tooth of Times Square. Right across the street is M&M’s experiential flagship M&M’s World, which sits a street away from Hershey’s Chocolate World.
Krispy Kreme’s experiential flagship has a similar goal to its neighbors: provide a space where consumers can not only buy from the brand, but interact with it, with limited edition items—only available at the store—thrown in.
The 4,500 square-foot flagship store is open 24/7 for in-store shopping and mobile ordering and pick-up. There’s also a walk-up window where people can pick-up doughnuts without having to step into the store, a fortuitous added convenience, and offers delivery up to five miles away. When it opens in September, it will enforce that visitors wear masks and stand six feet apart within the store.